BJP leaders admit that the strategy was similar to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when party won 73 of the 80 seats in UP. (Representational image/Photo:PTI))
How Muslim Women Were Convinced By the BJP In UP
These Muslim Women Students Are Fighting Back Against Trump's Travel Ban In The Most Inspiring Way
Why Women Weren't Allowed to Be Astronauts
Women, Muslim Representation in India Further Dwindles After Polls
Malala Yousafzai Receives Offer to Study at UK University
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Mar 12, 2017
New Delhi: A carefully-crafted strategy combining a number of issues was largely responsible for the BJP’s stunning victory in Uttar Pradesh Assembly election, crushing the fragmented Opposition to secure biggest mandate the party had ever received in the state.
The party was the first to realise the importance of having a strong cadre at the grassroots level that would help ensure that party's support base converted into votes during elections. Thus the BJP, which was strongly backed by the RSS, had started working on its booth management months before political rivals had even thought about it.
Senior BJP and RSS leaders had chalked out an elaborate plan to ensure that its cadre machinery was fully operational in the run up to the polls to not only ensure that the key policies of the Modi government were aggressively publicised but to ensure that this also got converted into votes. And the massive numbers for BJP proves that this worked.
Mobilisation by the cadre on the ground ensured that any negative impact of big ticket policies like demonetisation was not fully neutralised but it helped work in favour of the BJP as the party cadre was successfully able to drive home the point that the policy was actually “pro-poor”.
It is believed the party’s election machinery at the grassroots level could also convince women Muslim voters on the Centre’s stand against triple talaq as it is believed that a section of women voters from the minority community could well have gone to the BJP.
BJP leaders admit that the strategy was similar to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections when party won 73 of the 80 seats in UP. Changing the narrative during the course of elections from development to emotive issues like “kabristan and shamshaan” and power supply during “Ramzaan and Diwali” are also believed to have led to a reverse polarisation for the BJP.
These Muslim Women Students Are Fighting Back Against Trump's Travel Ban in The Most Inspiring Way
March 11, 2017
Donald Trump has made it clear that when it comes to foreign affairs, America comes first. But for a group of Muslim women students at colleges across the United States, helping those abroad is not only okay — it’s a responsibility.
The women are part of the Books Not Bombs campaign, an initiative organized by The Syria Consortium to help Syrian refugees access education. The campaign launched last year, before Trump’s ban on travel from six Muslim-majority countries was introduced, but since the first version of that executive order took effect, Books Not Bombs organizers — who are primarily Muslim women — have been ramping up their efforts.
The final text of the EO against refugees has just been released. It's ugly. Take action here: http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=2c498aeae50787fe159317958&id=af82ccbfe7 …
Across the nation, more than 18,000 students have gotten involved with Books Not Bombs since its inception — signing petitions, holding protests, and staging silent demonstrations — and have helped launch programs expanding access to education for immigrants and refugees.
At Barnard College in New York, organizers set up a scholarship program for displaced women. University of Southern California students created an emergency fund for refugee students affected by the travel ban. And Books Not Bombs activists around the country have lobbied their administrations to speak out and defend immigrant student populations.
We are surrounded by powerful women: pictured below are the organizers who created a refugee womens scholarship at Barnard earlier this week
“Education is a human right,” said Reem Karmouta, a Books Not Bombs organizer at UCLA who got involved in the campaign after seeing a Facebook page for the group at another school. “Here in the United States, we tend to take our education for granted. We are surrounded by amazing institutions and opportunities that many would die for.”
She told HelloGiggles, “Books Not Bombs hopes to assist in providing equal opportunity for education for all, especially those, like Syrian refugees, who can no longer access institutes of higher education [in their home countries due to conflict].”
The irony of Muslim women leading this charge is not lost on Karmouta, who feels like a stranger in her own country.
“[The travel ban] made me feel hated and unwelcome in the place I love most, the place I call home,” she said. “I understand the struggles that come with being different, with being a minority.”
Still, she sees Books Not Bombs as a way to fight for a better future.
“I want people to look ahead, decades into the future. When looking at the post-conflict situation in Syria, it is essential to think about higher education,” she said. “If we do not take action now, the country will have lost thousands of potential professionals who could have made the nation flourish into the state it once was.”
Critics had plenty of reasons for wanting to disqualify women from spaceflight in its early stages—but none of them stuck.
MAR 10, 2017
When the Apollo astronauts went to space in the 1960s, Mae Jemison was a little girl in Chicago, watching the historic launches along with the rest of the country. She remembers being irritated that the crew members all looked the same: They were all white men. Where were the women, she wondered, or anyone of color?
“I thought that was the most absurd thing in the entire world,” Jemison says. “I just thought, well, would the aliens actually think this is all there is to humanity?”
Jemison made her own trip to space three decades later. She flew aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavor in September 1992 for a weeklong mission, becoming the first African-American woman in space. By that time, the United States had been sending women to space for about 10 years, starting with Sally Ride’s mission in 1983. American astronauts were starting to look less and less like the pioneers that first pierced the boundary between the atmosphere and what lies beyond. As more and more women went up, people stopped, for the most part, wondering how they’d handle their periods in space, or asking them how many tampons they’d need for a weeklong mission.
Today, if aliens dropped into low-Earth orbit, as Jemison imagined as a young girl, they’d find Peggy Whitson in command of the International Space Station.
In the 1950s, before any American had been to space, women were considered good potential candidates for spaceflight. As NASA’s first, all-male astronaut class was undergoing rigorous medical and physiological tests to make sure they could survive the shakes and sounds of a rocket launch, Randolph Lovelace, the doctor in charge of the examinations, suspected women might do as well or even better than the men. After all, women are, on average, lighter and smaller than men, and require less oxygen. So he started testing female pilots at his clinic in New Mexico in 1960, subjecting them to the same tests the male candidates faced. Thirteen of 19 women passed the tests, compared to 18 of 32 men. The women did particularly better than the men in isolation tests.
Lovelace may sound progressive for his time, but his reasoning for including women wasn’t. Lovelace imagined a future full of space stations circling Earth, carrying people busy at work. “He was thinking that if you’re going to have dozens of people on space stations, then you’re going to need secretaries, you’re going to need telephone operators, you’re going to need lab assistants—and that means you need women,” says Margaret Weitekamp, a curator in the space history department at the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum and the author of Right Stuff, Wrong Sex: America’s First Women in Space Program. “So he’s thinking about the women for very much traditional, pink-collared, gendered jobs.”
Despite the promise of Lovelace’s tests, none of the participants ended up flying, and women would wait two more decades before getting their chance to blast off into space. After the Russians launched Sputnik in 1957, the space race that ensued became another proxy battle in the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union, turning astronauts into de facto soldiers. Men, as they had always done, would go to the front lines. Women, the thinking went, were to be protected and kept away from the battlefield, even if it was inside a cramped capsule.
“The men go off and fight the wars and fly the airplanes and come back and help design and build and test them. The fact that women are not in this field is a fact of our social order,” said John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, at a 1962 congressional hearing on gender discrimination at NASA, convened after much door-knocking in Washington by one of the members of Lovelace’s program, Jerrie Cobb. When the hearing took place, hiring discrimination on the basis of gender was two years away from being prohibited by law.
Some critics back then wondered how women could handle menstruation in microgravity, and whether exposure to radiation would affect fertility. The one and only report to come out of Lovelace’s program, published in 1964, noted that, although many women had passed strenuous testing, there were concerns about “the potential for the menstrual cycle to alter performance during space flight.” Spoiler: it doesn’t.
Other critics just made some really terrible jokes. “As for the ladies’ alleged ability to withstand boredom and confinement better than the man, I think there might be a number of harried husbands who have sat through long evenings listening to the wife’s recitations of the day’s activities, who have credentials in the area of tolerance and boredom,” said one NASA psychologist, according to Martha Ackmann’s book The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight. Wernher von Braun, a former Nazi and a NASA rocket engineer, said that male astronauts “are all for” allowing women to participate. He cited a quip from Robert Gilruth, the director of NASA’s aptly named Manned Spaceflight Center at the time. “As my friend Bob Gilruth says, we’re reserving 110 pounds of payload for recreational equipment.”
A shift came in the late 1970s, when NASA was preparing to launch the first mission of the Space Shuttle program. The shuttle could carry more passengers than ever, which meant not everyone onboard had to be a military pilot. Scientists and doctors were welcome, too. There was a sense, Weitekamp says, that space was now for everyone, which meant that the shuttle crews needed to better reflect the country’s population. NASA selected its first female astronauts in 1978, and Ride made her historic trip five years later. But old habits die hard. When Ride returned from her historic mission, someone tried to hand her a bouquet of roses. She declined. “She was not interested in being treated differently than the rest of the members of her crew because she was the one woman on that mission,” Weitekamp said.
In the years since, research has shown that women may be more susceptible to certain health risks than men in space. Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections, and have a lower threshold for exposure to radiation, due to the risk of breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers. None of these factors have anything to do with their brains, temperaments, or abilities—the qualities that critics once cited as disqualifying.
To date, nearly 60 American women have flown in space. The latest class of NASA astronauts, selected in 2013, includes four women and four men. What’s most interesting, Weitekamp says, is not the gender parity. Two of the women have something the earliest female astronauts couldn’t: military backgrounds. One of them, Anne McClain, is an Army major who flew helicopters during combat missions in Iraq.
“She has a resume that puts her on par with what male candidates would have had access to a generation or so earlier,” Weitekamp said.
Women, Muslim Representation In India Further Dwindles After Polls
March 12, 2017, New Delhi, DHNS
With the latest cluster of Assembly polls producing lesser number of women and Muslims, representation of the two groups in the political system has further dwindled in the country.
Initial analysis revealed 50 women were elected to Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa Assemblies as against 59 in 2012, while the number of Muslim lawmakers came down drastically from 76 to 28.
The BJP’s thumping victory in the elections had a direct impact on the reduction of Muslim representation, as the saffron party did not field a single Muslim in the 403-strong UP Assembly.
There were 71 Muslim MLAs in the outgoing UP Assembly, with SP and BSP together accounting for around 60. This has now declined to around 25 despite BSP, predominantly a party of Dalits, fielding nearly 100 candidates out of 403.
Out of the newly elected MLAs SP has 16 Muslim lawmakers, while BSP has seven and Congress two.
Political analysts say that communalisation of the UP elections has resulted in reduced Muslim representation. They blame both the BJP and the regional parties for resorting to communalisation.
The CPI(M) Polit Bureau attributed the BJP’s victory to a "mix of rank communal appeal and a wide ranging caste coalition".
“While acknowledging the massive mandate that the BJP has received, it also has implications that are dangerous for the country as it will encourage the brand of Hindutva politics which is divisive and harmful to the country,” the Left party further said.
Echoing a similar view, the CPI said the results were a "big setback" to secular and democratic forces in the country.
In terms of women representatives, Punjab sent six to the new Assembly as against 16 in the outgoing one, Uttarakhand sent five, the same as in the outgoing Assembly, while UP has elected 37 as against 35 in 2012.
The five-state polls also saw a sharp reduction of women nominees with Manipur fielding 11, Goa 18, Uttarakhand
56 and Uttar Pradesh 344 women. Overall, they account for 7.75 per cent among the 6,500 candidates who fought the elections.
Asserting that alongside her degree, she would continue to work for the Malala Fund
March 12, 2017
Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai has received an offer to study at a UK university, but on the condition of her achieving three As, to study politics, philosophy and economics (PPE). The 19-year-old, who is currently preparing for her A-Levels at a girls’ school in Birmingham, said so at an education conference, however, keeping quiet on which University made her the offer. Giving the final speech at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) annual conference, she said: “I’m studying right now. I’m in year 13, I have my A-Level exams coming and I have received a conditional offer, which is three As, so I need to get the three As, that’s what my focus is right now, and I hope to continue my work and also continue my studies.
“And I’m really thankful to you all for your support for encouraging me for my mission. That’s what makes me and keeps me so strong, so thank you so much for that, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak.”
Asserting that alongside her degree, she would continue to work for the Malala Fund, she said that her goal is to make sure every child gets the opportunity to go to school, as it is their basic human right.
The teenager also provoked laughter from the audience when she revealed she thought she was in trouble when she was called out of a chemistry class at school. Her fears were unfounded – the reason she was pulled from the lesson was to tell her she was the next Nobel prize recipient.
She said: “Suddenly, our deputy headteacher appears in the classroom and I’m just quite shocked, because why would she call me? I thought I was in trouble or something. She called me outside and I went and she said: ‘You have won the Nobel peace prize.’ So it was a big surprise, and I said: ‘Thank you.’”
Yousafzai, narrowly avoided death in 2012 after being shot by the Pakistani Taliban for her outspoken campaigning over girls’ rights to an education, and then moved to the United Kingdom with her family.
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